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A Queensland harness racing trainer is being rewarded for his kindness after stepping in and saving a horse more than 1500 kilometres away. Respected horseman Alistair Barnes said a six-year-old pacer "caught his eye" as he was browsing over an Echuca saleyards catalogue obtained by his partner Cassie Saunders. "There was a well-bred thoroughbred mare being offered for sale and Cassie was interested in it," Barnes said. "But I just liked everything I saw about a pacer that was listed, a horse which was named Somebeachsomegift (Somebeachsomewhere - Ulanart (Perfect Art) -he'd only been to the races on 11 occasions and won the Southern Cross 3YO final in Adelaide and also won at Mildura, although admittedly, it was back in 2017!" Barnes said. "After making a few phone calls I was told the horse had broken down and had been virtually retired, but a girl I spoke to, who had a fair bit to do with him, was quite upset that he was at the saleyards," he said. "She was in the middle of moving house though and had nowhere to put him, and I promised her I'd rescue the horse and get him up to our place. It was in my mind I might be able to get him back to the races because over the years we've done pretty well at patching up horses with bad legs." Alistair and Cassie are based at Tallegalla, near Marburg, 60 kms from Brisbane, where they prepare a small team of pacers, including brilliant last start Redcliffe Gold Cup runner-up Northview Hustler. Barnes said after navigating the logistics of purchasing Somebeachsomegift and having him transported north to Queensland, he found him to have a bad tendon as well as stifle issues. "But I was confident with time and patience I could patch him up and told the girl that when I was finished racing him, she could have him back," he said. "It turned out that he was one of the easiest horses to fix up that I've ever had!" But when the pacer was ready to go to the races, Barnes encountered another hurdle with Somebeachsomegift having been deregistered. "That took ages to sort out. I had Harness Racing Victoria helping me and the stewards were terrific, along with the Harness Racing Authority. My parents Geoff and Lorraine, along with a close family friend, played a big role in sorting it all out. Their work behind the scenes was awesome," he said. Somebeachsomegift finally made it back to the races in May, nearly three years after he last raced. But, after scoring an emphatic sprint-lane victory at Albion Park (1:57.9) last week, the pacer is now repaying Alistair and Cassie's persistence. To watch the video replay click here "We got there in the end and he's rewarded us, with the win and three placings from eight starts in a pretty short time. He's sound as a bell, now, and should keep racing consistently. I'm just elated because later the horse will end up having a nice home." And Cassie and her thoroughbred from the saleyards? Well she was also a successful purchaser and is now the owner of a well-bred broodmare by High Chaparral, a former Irish champion racehorse who won 10 of his 13 race starts. "We've booked her into Tassort, a first-season sire who had just two starts for a five-length debut win in the Golden Gift followed by a second in the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes," Cassie said. "Al got lucky-so hopefully I do as well," she laughed. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

In-form pacer Lincoln Road will remain local. The former New Zealand pacer was purchased last year with aspirations of being a contender for the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire, the pinnacle event for four-year-old’s staged at TABCORP Park, Menangle next month. An impressive winner of his past five starts, the latest comes on Tuesday afternoon at Albion Park when leading throughout in fast time. And while his current form lines read impressively, connections will resist the temptation of an interstate trip. “We’re thrilled with his efforts of late and he’s clearly performing at a very high level but a trip south is not the right thing for the horse. It’s his first campaign and he’s become a little stirred up and I think it could tip him over the edge.” Trainer Alistair Barnes said. A winner of 9 races from 21 starts, the versatile gelding has won 5 of his 8 starts in the Sunshine State. But Barnes is looking long term with his stable star. “I think the Brisbane winter carnival is a better option, we can give him an ease up and build nicely to those features rather than putting him in the deep end by chasing the Chariots. “He’s a horse we’re hoping can reach open class grade and have plenty of fun with along the way, he’s only a young horse and still very inexperienced. He’s still got plenty of upside and should continue to develop. “He has led, parked out and come from behind in his victories to date and I honestly feel his best option is sitting off the pace and coming with one run. As he rises in class, we may have to drive him more that way so that’s a nice problem to have.” Lincoln Road is raced by Victorian based couple, Cesare and Maria Di Gregorio. And they’re racing a number of prospects through the Barnes stable. Handy performer Bet Im Special was their maiden purchase while they’ve added Miss Blue Glory and the trotter Whataboyz. Barnes, a dual licence trainer, currently has a team of 17 in work.   RQ Web News

Queenslander Alistair Barnes is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, courtesy of a former Kiwi pacer destined for big things in harness racing. Barnes, a harness racing trainer-driver based at Marburg, admitted he is still “pinching himself” after watching his pacer Lincoln Road post his fifth consecutive win at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon. “When I flew over to New Zealand to drive the horse he felt like a nice type, but he’s absolutely blossomed here after taking a little time to settle in,” he said. Lincoln Road (Lincoln Royal-Tania Tandias) is raced by newcomers to the sport in Cesare and Maria Di Gregorio, of Melbourne. It was a chance meeting while holidaying in Fiji that brought Barnes, his partner Cassie Saunders and the Di Gregorios together. “We met at a resort and Cesare and his grandson Dion were both keen to go on a deep-sea fishing trip – something that we had also wanted to do,” Barnes said. “Anyway, it was a complete disaster. It was blowing a gale, with big waves and rough seas. We didn’t catch a thing and even worse, Cassie got horribly sea sick,” he said. “On our return, the boat owner couldn’t go too close to the beach, so he dropped us all off in waist deep water and we had to battle along to eventually get back to the resort. “That was when we struck up a friendship. Cesare told us he had always wanted to own and race some horses but didn’t know how to get involved.” The new partnership had some fun with one of their first horses in Bet Im Special who has earnt around $14,000 and were then lucky enough to get onto Lincoln Road as part of a $60,000 deal including Auckland winner, Miss Blue Glory. Barnes said he has high hopes for Lincoln Road who he described as “the complete package”. “He is so versatile, and this combined with his unbelievable will to win makes him a bit special,” he said. “I have no doubts whatsoever that he’s going to go places.” The purple patch of winning form kicked off at Redcliffe on December 20 and four impressive victories at Albion Park have followed for the son of Lincoln Royal. Lincoln Road in full flight winning the Egmont Park Stud Pace at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon Lincoln Royal was himself no slouch on the racetrack, competing under the name of Sir Lincoln (he was renamed in Australia to Lincoln Royal).  He won the Group One Auckland Cup in early 2012 and finished his career with 21 wins and 15 placings for over $660,000 from 57 starts. Sir Lincoln is by Mach Three, the sire of other notables in Auckland Reactor, Somebeachsomewhere and Fly Like An Eagle. In the breeding barn, Lincoln Royal has so far had 134 three and four-year-olds in NZ for 30 winners ($413,241), while in Australia he has 22 progeny on the ground for seven winners ($74,899). Two of his offspring in Aramiss and Abraham have been exported to North America with Aramiss having won nine for $83,318 and paced 1.53-1 on the half mile Yonkers Raceway. Barnes has been involved in harness racing for over 25 years but said nowadays he was happy to leave talented reinsmen sons Hayden and Brendan doing the bulk of the stable driving. “At the moment Hayden gets most of the drives, but if he’s unavailable Brendan, who is with Jack Butler at Logan Village, is next, and then it’s me – but only as a last resort,” he said laughing. But Barnes snr is probably playing down his capabilities as over the years he’s landed more than a few long shots, courtesy of some heady drives. “I suppose I learnt a bit when working in the USA and Canada, but I’m more than happy to be on the sidelines cheering for the boys,” he said. The Barnes team, with 17 in work at present, is prepared on a 70-acre property. “It’s a family affair with Cassie, Hayden and myself doing the training part. Cassie’s mum Gayle cleans the boxes, does the waters and all the other jobs that come with having a big team,” Barnes said. While he is excited by the potential of a 2yo Auckland Reactor filly related to smart Victorian based pacer Lochinvar Art (seven wins), and a 3yo, also sired by Auckland Reactor, and related to former top-liner Roman Ruler (14 wins from 34 starts), Barnes has another NZ trip in the pipeline. “Yes, I’m going back as soon as possible to try out a few more—-another one like Lincoln Road would be brilliant!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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